Stargazers will be out in force tomorrow night as a celestial display of shooting stars will light up the sky.
The Geminid meteor shower is set to peak some time during tomorrow night and will be visible until early Thursday morning.
Up to 150 meteors are expected to be visible per hour, although the bright moon might make it harder to spot them.
Anna Gammon-Ross, astronomer at Royal Observatory in Greenwich, said that the peak in the UK and Ireland will be during the night of December 14-15.
She said the meteors, which return each December, will be visible in the east of the sky from around 6pm – but will appear all around the sky later in the night.
She added: “Unfortunately, the waning gibbous moon will make it trickier to see the meteors during the peak night this year.
“The gibbous phases are when the near side of the moon is over halfway lit up by the sun, meaning it will appear very bright in our skies. This will make it difficult to see any other celestial objects nearby.”
The Geminids originate from a rocky asteroid called 3200 Phaethon with a comet-like orbit and were first observed in 1862.
The meteors, small pieces of interplanetary debris, appear to radiate from near the bright star Castor in the constellation Gemini. Friction with the upper atmosphere heats up the incoming debris, causing the air around them to glow brightly.
This leads to streaks of light that are also known as shooting stars.
According to the UK’s Royal Observatory in Greenwich, the Geminids are unusual as they can be multi-coloured – mainly white, some yellow and a few green, red and blue.
These colours are partly caused by the presence of traces of metals like sodium and calcium, the same effect that is used to make fireworks colourful, Royal Observatory experts said. The Geminids have a slower closing speed than many other comets as they enter Earth’s atmosphere at an angle.
Ms Gammon-Ross said visibility is best before the moon rises – at around 10pm on the peak night. She added: “For the best chances to spot the Geminids, find a dark area of clear sky and allow around 20 minutes to let your eyes adapt to the dark.”